By Tijjani Ahmad
Before banning the use of commercial motorcycles, popularly known as “Achaba”, most of us couldn’t imagine life in Kano without them. At that time, most Kano metropolis residents relied on Achaba as a means of local transport.
The business of commercial motorcycles was booming and popular during that time, known for its lucrative nature, employment generation and ease of use to residents.
Suddenly, the then governor of Kano State, Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, announced the ban on 22 January 2013. The government explained that many crimes, particularly attacks on security operatives in the Northern Nigerian state, were carried out by men on motorcycles.
Even though there was no specific arrangement for the alternative means from the government’s side, the ban was effective and gave birth to the rise of the tricycle popularly known as “A-Daidaita Sahu”.
A Daidata Sahu was not new in Kano because it was first implemented by the then Kano State governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, in 2005 but was not popular because of Achaba.
However, immediately after Achaba, investors started diverting their investment to A Daidaita Sahu. And residents accepted it since there were no alternative means of transport. It was reported that most of the Achaba riders also followed their investors and started trooping the streets of Kano.
For almost a decade, A Daidata Sahu has been found wanting in many offences, from criminal to civil. On that account, the government took many decisions to regulate the operation of commercial vehicles generally in Kano.
Unfortunately, the purpose of these decisions has been defeated by concentrating on the monetary aspect of most of the policies meant to curb insecurity and regulate motorists’ activities within the state.
Now, Kano State Government placed another ban on A Dadaita Sahu – restricting its operations at night, from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am. The question is, how sure are we this will solve the problem of insecurity?
Kano, one of the largest cities in Africa – known for commerce, agriculture and industrialisation, is becoming more sophisticated as its population grows, new businesses emerge and naturally expand. Therefore, whatever policy we bring, we should consider the consequences on the populace, businesses and the environment.
Despite these, it seems like proactive measures are not what we are interested in; we are instead scratching the surface. That’s why it is always quick banning, restrictions, curfew and many more reactive moves.
If we are indeed serious, we don’t need to borrow money and install CCTV in the name of curving insecurity. All we have to do is regulate the activities of commercial vehicles within the state and block the leakages of revenue generated from their activities. This will go a long way in checking the crimes and improving the overall revenue of the state.
Three years ago, my friend, a key player in the industry, asked my opinion on whether the government should ban it due to insecurity.
I said this could be done through an effective and efficient database where all the players within the industry, from owners, riders, sellers and service providers, and warehouses. The data must be linked with BVN and NIN. To be part of the industry, you must comply with the requirements.
By doing so, no motorcycle or any player within the industry should be seen on the street or within the city without registration. Furthermore, each person’s number or tracking ID should be placed on the bike and should correspond with what is in the database. So that whenever any player perpetrates a crime, all you have to do is to know the tracking number.
This can be used to know the owner and the rider of the motorcycle used to commit that crime. My friend is trying to implement this within their company. Where all their riders can be tracked in real-time using GPD enable tracker. Thus, this is all we need: regulation, not reactive measures such as banning.
Tijjani Ahmad wrote from Kano via email@example.com.